International Creative Time Summit screens at Plains Art Museum

By Narjes Al-bakshy

albakshyna@mnstate.edu

On Friday, Nov. 14, The Plains Art Museum in downtown Fargo organized a free, open to the public live stream screening of the Creative Time Summit in Stockholm, Sweden. The event ran from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time and attracted art instructors, museum staff and members of the Fargo-Moorhead community.

Creative Time is an organization that funds art projects globally for social change. Based in New York City, the 40-year-old organization believes in three core values: “art matters, artists’ voices in shaping society and public spaces are places for creative and free expression.”

The organization has ties to the Plains Art Museum. Last summer, Creative Time co-arranged for the exhibition, “Living as Form, The Nomadic Version” at the museum.

The Plains Art Museum’s Director of Education, Kristin Berquist, organized the screening, which was held for the first time at the museum.

“This event was just a pop-up and felt like a good fit based on the programs we have,” Berquist said. “I worked on it with help from Creative Time, who sent us information about the event, and also a couple of staff who are good with technology.”

The Summit is a weekend-long event, however, the museum featured only one day of the conference. The museum offered refreshments and Swedish snacks for attendees to have a feel for the conference’s location in Stockholm.

The schedule included dozens of curators and artists from around the world who discussed their topics of expertise, their accomplishments and future works. Some of the topics raised in the live stream include: Nationalism, how politics reflect art and vice versa; Activating Public Space, how art is inspired by the city around it; and Activating Public Space, how culture affects the urban landscape.

After the live stream, the group of attendees raised a discussion about what they learned from the summit. Some issues discussed were how to form a larger art community, raise awareness on culture and art and listening to suggestions on how art can influence social change in the area of Fargo-Moorhead.

Laura Dronen, a Concordia College alumna with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and classics, was in attendance for the screening. Her mother, Marcy Dronen, is an art teacher at Washington Elementary and acquired an interest in art from her.

Dronen actively tweeted during the day on talk segments she found interesting.  Her favorite part of the summit was the nationalism topic.

“I enjoyed [listening to] how rights are kind of eroding except for transnational corporations, how you have to be aware of that and what artists can do in the political sphere,” she said.  “Political activism and social engagement is a very interesting topic.”

Dronen is an active member of the museum.

“Art is a tool for social justice. A lot of [the museum’s events] in the summer were about that,” Dronen said. “The museum has a lot of great events that you should go to.”

Dr. Yvonne Condell, retired MSUM life sciences and biology professor has a different perspective on The Creative Time Summit. “We should take away the idea that we can be involved and how creative we can be to finance the arts,” Dr. Condell said.

Art museums around the world find themselves more active in social and political issues.

“Socially engaged art or public art is becoming a very big deal in the art museum world,” Berquist said. “It’s not necessarily something that had a tradition in museums in the same way it’s becoming done now. It’s something that this museum really believes strongly in, we want to be a place for the community.”

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